BJP faces revolt in Chhattisgarh over nominationsOctober 22nd, 2008 - 2:24 pm ICT by IANS
Raipur, Oct 22 (IANS) Chhattisgarh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has bet on new faces by not fielding 18 sitting legislators, including a minister, in the first list of 78 candidates, but now the party has to contend with a revolt by the dropped lawmakers. The BJP, which late Tuesday night released the first list of candidates for the Nov 14 and 20 polls to the 90-member assembly, has stumped several senior leaders, including a tribal leader and five parliamentary secretaries.
“The central leaders took the decision on consensus basis based on ground inputs collected directly from their constituencies,” a BJP leader said.
“We are trying to do a Gujarat in Chhattisgarh with the same proven formula. We are of the firm view that depriving 18 sitting MLAs will help the party to contain anti-incumbency factory if any,” a senior BJP leader told IANS Wednesday.
A majority of those who did not get the party nomination, including Housing and Environment Minister Ganeshram Bhagat who has a good hold in the tribal community in Jashpur district and Rajim lawmaker Chandulal Sahu who belongs to Other Backward Class that comprises about 40 percent of state’s population, have raised the banner of revolt.
Party officials say that 11 of the 18 legislators who were not given the party ticket have approached either the Bahujan Samaj Party or other local outfits, while seven have told the party leaders here that “they would ensure the party’s official candidate’s humiliating defeat”.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Raman Singh has changed his constituency for the third time in a row.
Singh, who lost to the Congress at his home turf Kawardha in 1998, was elected to the state assembly in a by-poll from Dongargaon in 2004 after he was sworn in as chief minister in December 2003.
Now he has again switched to a new assembly segment, Rajnandgaon, where he hosted a feast Oct 15 for about 50,000 people on his 56th birthday.
Industry Minister Rajesh Munat, who made his maiden entry to the assembly in 2003 from Raipur rural seat, has also switched over to Raipur city west after a party survey found a strong anti-incumbency mood against him.
The party has decided to field Revenue minister Brijmohan Agrawal from Raipur city south, where Muslims voters are in numbers sufficient to decide the fate of a candidate.